The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 9

    Groped

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 4

    Burns

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 12

    Falls

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 2

    Groped

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group